Love, Family, Rock-n-Roll & Whiskey

Moments that Make Life Rock… a statement or more so call to arms you’ll see a lot in this blog and in your interactions with Sixthman. When the team here strips back all the planning, the lights, stages, speakers, announcement emails, event programs and banners in the terminal and around the ship…what’s most important and what is core to why we exist are the moments we aim to set the stage for…for our guests, artists and partners on board and for our team day in and day out.

During late October about a few years ago on the sixth Simple Man Cruise, our music festival at sea hosted by Lynyrd Skynyrd, I experienced a moment that would change the way I interacted with my family by bringing "moments that make life rock" to me almost on a daily basis.

“If I leave here tomorrow”

It was the last night of the cruise, I popped in the Stardust Theater on our home away from home, Norwegian Pearl, to get a feel for the room knowing it was Skynyrd’s last set of the event. I happened to walk in just as the band was closing out the show and kicking right into Freebird. I stood in the aisle for a bit on the second level – looked all around the room and started heading up the steps towards the exit. As I did, an older guy put his arm around my shoulder and patted me on the back. He had a smoke stained yellow beard, wavy shoulder length hair and a black leather jacket with cool patches all over it. For a  second I thought I had gotten in his sightline of the show and that he was about to let me have it… but his request was much different. He pulled me in (a little closer than I expected) looked me right in the eyes and said, “young man, you need to stay and listen to the rest of this song… it represents love, family, rock-n-roll and whiskey all in one… it’ll change your life son!” Being born in 1971 I’d heard Freebird more times than I could count on rock radio and a few times live so mostly out of respect and partly out of a new found curiosity, I stayed put next to my new friend and focused all my attention on the stage.

“Things just couldn’t even be the same”

I won’t dive into all the details, but suffice it to say… the combination of mind-bending trio of guitar solos, images of the band’s departed frontman Ronnie Van Zant on the back screen, the entire crowd singing every word and yes, the golden eagle statue they wheel out on stage all came together for a ten minute mini-religious experience for me and the 1,000 other cruisers that were also all practically levitating as the last chords and cymbals brought the song to the end everyone hoped would never come.

“Cause I’m as free as a bird now”

Fast-forward to Christmas Eve two months later. My family and I had a great dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant in the neighborhood. We’d been celebrating the holiday with a few bottles of wine and instead of the usual tradition of letting the kids open one gift the night before the big day… for some reason we hit the basement to jam as a family. Various combinations of us had played down there from time to time and I had been messing with the chords to Freebird since stepping off the ship along with our youngest son on vocals…but in some crazy classic rock Christmas miracle we all settled into an instrument and after a short sound check of sorts (and to teach the bass line to my wife Bridget – who had never picked up a bass), we took the stage to a group of adoring fans (my in-laws, brother-in-law and our 15 year old cat).

“Lord knows I can’t change” 

As you can see by the footage, the song was pretty off key… pretty off beat… pretty much a train wreck and at the same time, pretty much a moment that will last forever for our family. Coming together that night inspired us to make not just listening to music and going to shows a priority, but to make actually playing together an ongoing source of fun and bonding for our family. Rarely does a day go by when any three of us, sometimes more, head to the basement to jam on some 70’s & 80’s favorites (and even some originals these days) all in the spirit of rockin’ out as hard as Skynyrd did that night in the Stardust. We even have our own band name ~Buenos Diaz~ and are working on our own concert t-shirts. ☺

“Won’t you fly high free bird”

So it turns out my friend that night at the show was right… the song really is a bundle of “love, family, rock-n-roll and whiskey (or wine) all in one… it really did in some small way change my life for the better. One of the most rewarding things about being a part of Sixthman is that we get to be with our guests the moment they experience what it is we do. We, along with the bands and fans, get to be a small part of the experience of setting the stage for these moments and more times than not, our guests deliver moments right back at us… and it means the world.

“For I must be travelin’ on now”

So, if there is a song that has special meaning to you, that has shaped your life in a memorable way… please share it and your story below, we’d love to hear it… it’s sure to inspire others as much as it has inspired you. Hope to see you out at sea soon.


–Anthony (

Moments That Make Life Rock

One of the phrases you'll commonly hear around Sixthman is “moments that make life rock,” and I’ve been lucky to witness a lot of these moments first-hand. I’m proud to admit it’s not just a cheesy slogan… these are real moments in real people’s lives, and it’s fun to set the stage to make them happen. There are thousands of moments like this, and depending on who you ask here at Sixthman, you’ll get different answers when it comes to the favorites. If you asked me on a different day, I’d probably even have different answers!

To date, I’ve spent 216 days aboard 48 events. Out of all of my time at sea, here are my personal favorite top 5 “Moments That Make Life Rock”:

5. The Surprise Wedding – Simple Man Cruise, 2012

It’s fairly safe to say that scoring an invitation to your favorite artist’s wedding is highly unlikely in the real world.

Guests didn’t know it, but Gary and Dale Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd were going to renew their wedding vows on the Simple Man Cruise. And not a simple vow renewal… there was a dress, flowers, a wedding party, a cake, a red carpet, a reception… pretty much a full-blown wedding. Dale even filmed an episode of “Say Yes To The Dress” while in search of the perfect gown for the occasion.  (Watch the full episode.)

She made her grand entrance right after Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Q&A on the Pool Deck, an activity attended by everyone on board, so we knew guests wouldn’t miss out. Needless to say, everyone was shocked and excited to be included in such a personal moment with the band they’d been following for nearly 50 years.


That's the official wedding video Lynyrd Skynyrd released that covers the day’s festivities. Unfortunately the music has been removed, but it still gives you a visual of what happened. Congrats, Simple Man Cruisers! You’re now officially part of your favorite rock star’s home movies. Quite the role reversal, huh?

4. Paraoke with Paramore – PARAHOY! 2014

A 14-year-old singing one of the biggest hits of the day with THE BAND THAT SINGS IT sitting on stage with her? And then knocking it out of the park? That sums up Paraoke, Paramore’s spin on traditional karaoke. Guests called a special phone number and sang their hearts out to audition. The chosen finalists performed a Paramore song live on board, competing for the Paraoke title.

Here’s the winner:

If that wasn’t enough here’s the runner up: 

I still can’t believe the incredible talent we found hidden within our PARAHOY community. This was a first-year event, and it was inspiring to watch the entire crowd support their fellow guests. Our staff had a hard time working this activity… we were in such awe of the contestants.

3. 311 goes incognito - 311 Carribbean Cruise, 2012

The theme night was simply called “Costume Party,” and 311 band members were the ultimate participants. They roamed the ship while wearing full-body black ninja outfits and carrying blinky swords (complete with sound effects). They even entered their own costume contest! No one could see their faces, and they interacted with guests all night without anyone knowing they were partying with their heroes. They revealed their secret afterwards. Kudos, 311 dudes.

2. An impromptu hootenanny with Rivers Cuomo – The Weezer Cruise, 2012

On the last night of The Weezer Cruise 2012, a group of fans wanted to jam together and sing Weezer songs, and they wanted a designated place so they could spread the word among other interested fans. As the Warrior of that cruise, I knew about it, but wasn’t sure if it was actually going to happen, so I worked out a plan with our Production Manager to let them use a small lounge just in case. Turned out, we ended up needing the room I promised them for a last-minute Sixthman meeting but I had no way to tell the Hootenanny group since it was so late in the evening already. We went about our Sixthman-y stuff in the room, and all of a sudden a bunch of Weezer fans and Rivers Cuomo walked in carrying instruments, ready to sing.

I realized what was happening, sprinted to the other end of the ship in search of an available room and was REALLY hoping I could find something open. I stationed a Sixthman person at the door to the original room to send people my way, even though I had no idea where I was going yet. The ship’s Library was empty, so I opened the doors and started rearranging all of the furniture so the chairs, desks, and tables were arranged around the entire perimeter of the room. (Fun fact: Cruise ship furniture is EXTRA heavy, since it’s made to withstand swaying.) Right when I was done re-arranging, the parade of Weezer fans found me and entered the room, already singing. Rivers was still with them, and everyone sat in the Library singing Weezer songs for HOURS. We bought buckets of beer for everyone, and the empty buckets quickly turned into drums. There were actually people crying because they were so ridiculously happy. It was such a bizarre, organic and amazing moment. And the lead singer of everyone’s favorite band was in the room, absorbing every last bit of it.

Were we any good? No way. (To be fair, we started strong. But once it dwindled down to a few of us left at 4:00am, the drinks were all gone, we could barely keep our eyes open, and you could probably classify us as terrible.) We just didn't want it to end. I’ve never felt so connected with a group of people I’ve only known for 4 days. And an all-Weezer song Hootenanny in a Library? Can you BE more appropriate? (Read that in your best Chandler Bing voice.)

I never made it back to that Sixthman meeting by the way… #sorrynotsorry

1. Wideawake in the Atrium -  The Rock Boat, 2006

You really had to be there, because nothing I type will ever live up to it.  But here’s a picture, which is hanging up in the Sixthman office to this day.

Attempted Explanation: It started raining outside, so the afternoon shows needed to move indoors. Brand new TRB band, Wideawake, had to move their outdoor set to the Atrium on the fly. There wasn’t even a real stage there, and we had never used the atrium as a venue. But the show went on, and when they sang “Not So Far Away,” you could barely hear the band over the crowd singing every word. Wideawake was playing their first Rock Boat ever, in a venue that had seemingly been created out of thin air. It was pretty incredible, and the expressions on everyone’s faces (band and guests) were those of pure joy and complete amazement. I wish there was a way to capture the energy we all felt that day, because it was absolutely electric. This video can help you visualize the setting, but it still doesn’t do it justice. (It was filmed on the same Rock Boat, but covers a repeat performance of the same song during the finale on the last night, rather the original rainy day performance.)

So, what’s next? That’s up to you! Cheers to many more of these moments in Sixthman’s future – and in yours. I can’t wait to experience them right alongside you.